Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Customizing the Hover Window to Fit Your Needs

Most of you are probably familiar with the Hover window in the Dentrix Appointment Book. When you hover your mouse over a particular appointment, the Hover window appears and gives you information about the patient and their appointment.


But did you know that you can customize the Hover window for each workstation? This can be beneficial to provide team members with the information they need to see about the patient’s appointment.

For example, it’s important that the schedule coordinator is able to view the patent’s phone numbers and e-mail address in the Hover window for appointment confirmation, but that may not be necessary information for the hygienists and assistant to view on their workstation.

It is important, however, that the hygienist and assistant can view the Appointment Reason, Appointment Notes, and Appointment Status so they can see what procedures the patient is scheduled for, any notes pertaining to the appointment, and if the appointment was confirmed or not.

If you are taking patient pictures, displaying the patient picture in the Hover window can be beneficial. You may have patents with the same name so the patient picture can help you easily identify the patient simply by hovering over their appointment.

For workstations where the screen is visible to patients, you may want to consider hiding a patient’s social security number from the Hover window to protect their information.

Once you’ve determined the kind of information you want to display in the Hover window, you can customize the settings on a workstation by workstation basis. In the Appointment Book go to Setup > Practice Appointment Setup > Hover Detail Setup.


The available options are displayed in this window and you can select whether information is shown or hidden. As you make changes, the example Hover window will allow you to preview the customized window. So, you can customize the Hover window settings for your schedule coordinator’s workstation to show contact information for the patient and hide other information that may not be needed to confirm the appointment.


And you can customize the Hover window settings for your hygienist’s workstation to show the appointment-specific information they need but hide the financial or insurance information they don’t.

Another useful setting is the ability to choose how long it takes for the Hover window to appear when you hover over an appointment. In areas where computer monitors are seen by patients, you may want the delay to be longer so that the window doesn’t immediately pop up. You may also want to consider disabling the Hover window in areas where patients can see the computer monitors, like in operatories. This eliminates the possibility of patients seeing another patient’s information.


The Hover window can provide you with quick at-a-glance information about the patient and their appointment. Customizing the Hover window based on the information each team member needs to view on their workstation can be a helpful tool. Identify which computers you don’t want the Hover window to display on and disable the feature on those workstations.

If you have questions, e-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Using the Appointment Checklist

Do you ever have this happen in your office? The hygienist wants to know if you have received X-rays from her new patient’s previous dentist. The doctor wants to know if his 2:00 pm patient was reminded to pre-medicate, and the assistant wants to know if finances were reviewed with her patient who is scheduled for a crown.

The Appointment Check List in the Dentrix Appointment Book can be a great tool to communicate this type of information throughout the office, and it can eliminate questions and confusion, and ensure the entire team is on the same page.

When the schedule coordinator in your office makes a new patient appointment, she can request the patient’s X-rays from their previous dentist and check the corresponding box in the Appointment Check List in the Appointment Information window. When anyone else in the office opens that appointment, they can see that box is checked, indicating that X-rays were requested.



Once the X-rays are received, she could then check the box to indicate the x-rays have been received. By training your team to look for and use the Appointment Checklist, everyone can be on the same page when it comes to information they need to know about upcoming appointments.

Here’s another example. When calling to confirm appointments, the schedule coordinator can remind patients who require pre-medication to take their medication prior to the appointment and check the box in the Appointment Check List.

The Appointment Check List can serve two purposes: to remind you to perform certain tasks before an appointment, and to act as a visual cue that anyone on the team can see in the Appointment Information window to ensure that tasks were completed.

When you are reviewing the day’s appointments you will know if a task has been done. For example, if you are able to see that a patient has been reminded to pre-medicate, you can move on to the next task. This can help to streamline your daily tasks without having to move to another module or area in Dentrix.

The best part about the Appointment Check List is that it’s completely customizable so if there are specific tasks your office performs prior to a patient’s appointment, you can include those in your checklist.

To customize the Appointment Check List open the Office Manager > Maintenance > Practice Setup > Definitions. In the Definition Type drop-down list, select Appointment Check List.


Some of my personal favorite items to include on the list are:
  • X-Rays Requested
  • X-Rays Received
  • Confirmed Pre-Med
  • Verified Insurance
  •  Reviewed Finances
I’ve found the above items to be common tasks that I want to make sure are completed if they apply to that patient’s appointment. I recommend you meet with your team and discuss the Appointment Check List. What are common things that they want to know about a patient’s appointment?

Once you have decided on the items you want to include on the list, customize the Appointment Check List to meet the needs of your office and see how it can improve communication and streamline your daily tasks. 

As always, e-mail me with questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Using the Search Payments Tool

Has this ever happened in your office?

Mary Jones comes in for a return appointment following her cleaning last week. She says she made a check payment of $25.00 last week, and it has cleared her bank, but it’s not posted to her Ledger. How can you go about finding where that payment went?

Luckily, in Dentrix, you have the ability to search for a payment. You can find the Search Payments option in the Ledger. From the toolbar, select File > Search Payments.


In the Search Payments window, you have many filters that you can use to search for payments including check number, date range, insurance carrier, amount, guarantor name, and payment type. I’ve found that using Search Payments is a very useful tool.

In the case of Mary Jones, you can use Search Payments to find a payment that was posted to the wrong guarantor or patient. To find which account the payment was incorrectly posted to, use the filters for the payment amount, the date range, and the payment type.

In the Amount section, I would enter $25.00 in both From and To fields. Under Select Payment Types, select the check payment option. In the Select Date section, enter the date range from 05/06/2019 and to 05/10/2019 in the appropriate fields (since she said she made the payment last week). If you know the check number, you can also enter that information in the Check Information section. Then click Search.


A list of all payments fitting those parameters will be displayed on the bottom half of the page, and you can determine where the payment was posted in error. Here you can see that the payment was posted to Michael Jones, instead of Mary Jones.

Let’s look at another example when the Search Payments feature could be useful tool: when a patient requests a list of payments made within a certain time frame.

Mary Jones asks for a list of all payments made on her account during the year of 2018. In this situation, use the Select Date section and enter a date range from 01/01/2018 to 12/31/2018. Next, in the Select Guarantor section, use the search arrow to select Mary. Jones as the guarantor. Since she wants a list of all payments made, in the Select Payment Types box, check All.  Then, select Search to display the list of payments that meet the chosen parameters.


Once you have your results, you can print this list for the patient. You also have the option to print a cover page.

These are just two examples of when Search Payments can be very useful. Keep in mind that you can narrow down the amount of matching results by adding as much information as you have in your search filters. And, you can use this Search Payments tool to find either an insurance payment or a patient payment.

Familiarize yourself with this feature and let me know the ways you use it. I think there are many situations where this would be a great tool! E-mail me at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

More Information? You Better Believe It!

As a Certified Dentrix trainer I often get asked the question, “What can I do to access the data I need more quickly and easily?” The More Information icon can give you the data you need very quickly. I find this tends to be an under-utilized icon that can be a big time-saver for your office.


You can find the More Information icon in the Dentrix Appointment Book, Patient Chart, Family File, Ledger, and Document Center.

After choosing a patient and selecting the icon, the More Information window gives you the following valuable information about the patient and any other family members (providing they are in the same Family File):


A. Appointments

  • Past, future, and unscheduled appointments
  • Appointment Reason (what the highlighted appointment is for)
  • Indication if a lab case is attached

B. Continuing Care

  • Due dates for each continuing care type and if an appointment is scheduled for that type

C. Family Account Information

  • Family balance including account aging
  • Payment agreement information (if applicable)
  • Account billing type
  • Last Payment Date
  • Last Insurance Payment Date
  • Last Billing Statement Date
  • Ability to go right to the Ledger from this screen

D. Patient Demographic Information

  • Patient birth date, address, e-mail addresses, phone numbers
  • Ability to quickly add an Office Journal entry from this screen
You have the option to view all this information for each patient in the family simply by selecting that patient at the top of the window.

Here are some examples of questions patients may ask that you can quickly answer just by using the More Information window:

"When was my last appointment and what was it for?"

"When am I due for a cleaning?"

When are my spouse and children due for their cleanings?"

"What address do you have on file for me?"

"What is my balance?"

"When is my next payment due?"

Because I’m able to answer all these questions and access all this type of information from just one window, I find it to be my go-to tool to quickly access the information I’m looking for. Try using the More Information icon instead of accessing the information from other areas in Dentrix and see how much time you can save! 

Contact me with any questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Participating in a Dental Savings Plan

With the joint venture of Henry Schein One, Henry Schein has partnered with other companies to help your office in provide your patients the best possible experience. One of those companies is DentalPlans.com.

DentalPlans.com provides patients a way to purchase a dental savings plan. There is an increasing need for these types of plans, especially for patients who do not have dental insurance provided by their employer, are self-employed, or are retired.



DentalPlans.com offers 30 savings plans with over 20 well-known network partners, and some plans also have additional benefits like vision and prescription savings.

These savings plans are a good choice for patients because unlike traditional insurance, there are no plan maximums and no restrictions for age or frequency. After paying a yearly fee, patients receive discounted fees for procedures, which can help them afford the dental treatment they need.


Participating with DentalPlans.com dental savings plans are a good choice for your office too. By making dental treatment affordable, you can help to increase case acceptance. You can create a fee schedule in Dentrix for the savings plan, and when you print a treatment case, you can select Compare to Fee Schedule to show the patient the difference between your office fee and the discounted fee they will receive.






I’ve found this to be a good tool when presenting a treatment plan to increase case acceptance.


When you partner with DentalPlans.com, your office will also receive free marketing. Your office will be listed on their website’s search results when potential patients search by dentist name or practice location, which can help generate new patients. Also, by partnering with DentalPlans.com, your office will move to the top of their provider list, increasing your exposure.


Another benefit of your office accepting dental savings plans is that there are no insurance claim forms to file, which saves you time. And because patients on a savings plan pay at the time of service, that will help your accounts receivable and reduce timely and costly collection processes.


One final reason to think about partnering with DentalPlans.com versus offering an in-office discount plan, is that your staff doesn’t have to keep up with patient payments for these for plans.

I encourage you to visit DentalPlans.com and consider implementing these dental savings plans for your patients.

Please contact me with any questions at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.


Charlotte Skaggs, Certified Dentrix Trainer

Charlotte Skaggs is the founder of Vector Dental Consulting LLC, a practice management firm focused on taking offices to the next level. Charlotte co-owned and managed a successful dental practice with her husband for 17 years. She has a unique approach to consulting based on the perspective of a practice owner. Charlotte has been using Dentrix for almost 20 years and is a certified Dentrix trainer. Contact Charlotte at vectordentalconsulting@gmail.com.